Current law requires petitioners to demonstrate harm as measured from a nationwide and year-round perspective, which precludes the recognition of regional and seasonal fruit and vegetable industries. A bill was recently reintroduced to Congress to amend that law.
The Defending Domestic Produce Production Act would acknowledge the unique circumstances of seasonal fruit and vegetable producers, according to a June 16 statement by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Rubio first introduced the legislation in September 2018 with then-Senator Nelson (D-FL) and reintroduced it in January 2019, along with Rick Scott (R-FL), along with U.S. Representatives Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Al Lawson (D-FL)
The Defending Domestic Produce Production Act aims to ensure U.S. trade law is applicable to seasonal fruit and vegetable growers to petition the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission in order to secure relief from unfair trade practices.
Current law requires petitioners to demonstrate harm as measured from a nationwide and year-round perspective, which by definition precludes the recognition of regional and seasonal fruit and vegetable industries.
“We must ensure the viability of Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers, who for years have struggled to compete with dumped and unfairly priced Mexican imports,” Rubio said. “I firmly believe that food security is national security, and that to ensure our nation’s food security we must defend our food producers from malicious trade practices that are intended to undermine our self-reliance.”
“Florida’s seasonal produce growers work incredibly hard to succeed and support their families, but they’ve been faced with hardship amid the pandemic and unfair competition from Mexico,” Scott said. “This legislation will help defend and protect our hardworking domestic growers from the impacts of these unfair trade practices and support their continued success.”
“Illegal seasonal dumping and unfair Mexican trade practices are crippling Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers,” Buchanan said. “It’s time to level the playing field and protect hardworking Florida farmers. Our bill would do just that.”
“Mexico’s dumping into our nation’s agriculture market is a problem, and below-cost produce has put Florida’s farmers at a disadvantage,” Lawson said. “This issue is crippling our state’s agriculture industry and threatening its place as one of the top agricultural producers in the country. The Defending Domestic Produce Production Act will work to protect Florida’s farmers and make sure they have a fair chance in the marketplace.”